Estella Swartz, age 96
Funeral Celebration of Life Services for Estella Swartz, age 96, of Lenox, who passed away Saturday, May 26, 2018 at her home will be held Friday, June 8, 2018 at 11:00 AM at the Lenox United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held Wednesday at the Ritchie Funeral Home from 3 to 7 with the family greeting friends from 5 to 7 PM. Memorials be given in Estella’s name. Memories may be shared with the family at www.ritchiefuneralhome.com under Obituaries. Arrangements were entrusted to the Ritchie Funeral Home of Lenox where we ‘Celebrate Life’.
Estella Elizabeth (Cooper) Swartz was born October 23, 1921 in Adams County Iowa. She was the daughter of Elmer E. Cooper and Florence (Wilmarth) Cooper. Estella had 1 older sister, Wanda and two older brothers, Wayne and Willis who are all deceased. Estella grew up north of Corning on the family farm. She attended school at Dog Hollow where she later became the teacher. Estella graduated from Corning High School in 1939 and completed the required Normal Training classwork so that she could become a teacher by the age of 17. She began her career in 1939 at a monthly of $40 and continued to teach in the rural schools of Adams County until 1944.
Estella was married on October 19, 1943, to Eugene T. Swartz from Lenox. They were wed at the Corning United Methodist Parsonage. For the remainder of the school year she continued teaching although married teachers were not allowed to teach by law. The community made her to promise she would finish the year. Estella continued to live with her parents while Eugene served in World War II. The couple’s son, Edward was born in 1945 while his dad was in Japan. Their daughter Florence was born in 1948.
The couple made their home in a small house built for them on the Swartz land north of Lenox. That home is now a one-car garage on the farm! Estella took on farm responsibilities while raising the two children. She felt the urge to return to teaching when Florence was five. From 1953 through 1959 Estella taught in the rural schools near the farm. By 1960 most of the rural schools were closed and Estella found herself teaching in elementary schools in the Creston School District. She was so proud of her many students and their accomplishments. They were doctors, farmers, teachers, nurses only to name a few and many of them kept in contact with her all the way through their own retirements. She believed that a good education was important and lived by her words. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri University in 1979 – the same year her daughter Florence graduated from college.
When Estella and Eugene retired they traveled the U.S. They hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Grand Canyon several times as well as many other less known trails. For nearly 15 years their Fifth-Wheel camper was their home and the U.S. was their campsite. They enjoyed their years of volunteer work at National Parks, BLM and other parks as camp hosts. Estella enjoyed the outdoors as you would notice if you visited the Swartz farm and saw her beautiful gardens. She was a 4-H leader, active member of the United Methodist church and together the couple enjoyed driving their two Edsel’s in parades and across Iowa with the International Edsel Club.
When Eugene passed away in 2006, Stella continued to live in the couple’s A-frame house and saw the land become a Century Farm in 2017. She managed the farm with the help of a really wonderful renter, Arnold Maynes. She continued to drive and enjoyed a full and active life to the very end. Her many flowerbeds and plants will continue to bloom with memories of those who took the “Flower Walk” with her. She also really loved all of the trips she took with friends who shared a variety of entertainment events with her over the years.
Left to cherish the memories of a wonderful mother, grandmother, teacher and friend are daughter Florence Jackson and husband Les of Lino Lakes, Minnesota; a grandson, Todd Jackson and wife Liz and two great-granddaughters, Cassady and Teegan of North Liberty, Iowa; and granddaughter Becky Sonmore husband Scott and two great-grandsons Derek and Dylan of Blaine, Minnesota. Preceding Estella in death are her parents, loving husband Eugene in 2006, her son Edward in 1967 and sister and brothers as well as a sister-in-law Ila Ramsey.
The memory of a well-spent life never dies.
We cannot keep you forever, but the memories,
we can hold close in our hearts.
The legacy of your love will be carried on by your family.
Estella Swartz, age 96